Recently, I shared a meme with my YouTube community which consists mostly of INFJs, but also of other types. It said something like, “INFJ – I don’t like how chatty I get when I feel at ease with someone.” A day later, I had 23 comments most of which were at least a paragraph long, with people describing how they felt after they had had one of these chatty sessions themselves.
It was fascinating to me to witness this because it further reinforced the idea for me that I am not alone, and even when I think I am weird because I behave one way or another, I find out that a bunch of other INFJs or people on this planet behave in exactly the same way. The loneliness that tends to creep into me, dissipates very rapidly at such a knowing.
Thus, I decided to share this post with you and with it certain ideas on how to avoid this extra-chatty nature of yours, or even better, embrace it wholly, so it can become part of your repertoire.
Two Reasons Why INFJs End Up Being Extra Chatty Around Some People
INFJs have somewhat of a reputation of being quiet. Or I should say that we have a reputation for being silent around strangers. And extremely intense and exuberant around people we are friends with or people whom we trust.
And that’s exactly it. It takes most INFJs (and most people) a fairly long time to trust the people around them. Whatever the reason for it might be, we tend to pick and choose the people around us very carefully. Weeding through a hundred candidates to pick one suitable friend. Thus, most of us end up with maybe 2-3 true friends, if that.
Once we trust these individuals though, all bets are off. We try as much as possible to share as much of ourselves with you as we can, without feeling shame or embarrassment. We will try to tell you our hopes, desires, dreams, and aspirations. Or something like that.
But we also have these moments of intense chattiness with random strangers, or with people we haven’t known for long. I was at a meditation group recently, and when it came time to share our meditation experience at the end of the class, all of a sudden, I started talking, and I couldn’t stop talking for at least five minutes. I was begging myself inwardly to stop chattering away like a fool, but I couldn’t help it. Whatever it was that was inside of me, had to come out. And it came out like a torrent of words, embarrassing and shaming me on the inside. When I finally stopped talking, I vowed inwardly to never say another word in this class again.
Why does this happen? My theory, from observing myself, is that this usually happens to me when I have been secluding myself into my cave too much. And avoiding friends, and family way too much. All of this introversion causes me to feel that lack of human contact and thus, when I do come into contact with any humans. Be it at a yoga class, or at a weekly women’s lunch, I am unable to control myself. I spill out everything that I have been wanting to share with someone, and the people around me become my unwilling targets.
Another reason could be that all of that holding back, all of that repression, all of that catching our tongue, and not speaking up, might inadvertently result in some spilling over. When anyone holds themselves back a lot, there will be a point where the dam overflows. And the words just come spilling out, through no fault of their own.
We Don’t Stop Talking Until We Get The Reaction We Want From Others
Some of the commenters on my YouTube channel also commented that when they are sharing something with people around them, they are usually waiting for some sort of specific reaction from the people around them. Something like disgust, or acceptance, or a bit of laughter. When we don’t receive that reaction in the form that we wanted, we keep on talking. Until we receive the reaction we desired.
This might be just a one-off, but it resonated with me, and with several other INFJs who agreed vehemently.
I wanted to share my theory on this as well. From my experience, being a chameleon was a role that I played frequently in my life. It had to do with my desire to fit in as a child, to be accepted, to feel wanted, and loved. And this carries over into my adulthood, as it does for many INFJs.
We watch the people around us when we speak or interact with them to ensure that we are doing it correctly. Being socially awkward, I had no idea if I was doing it right. If I was saying the right things, or being socially accurate. The only way was for me to observe the others around me.
Watch them and learn. Keep on watching them for the right kind of reaction. Once you get it, then you can move on. These are some of the lessons I received from my chameleon mode.
Perhaps this has something to do with our need for the right kind of reaction when we chatter away as well.
Don’t Hide Away From The World For Too Long, INFJs
I think I give this advice almost daily to all of the INFJ listeners on my YouTube channel. I think I am talking more to myself than them, but it works all the same. When I spend way too much time in my cave, with my books, mangas, and laptop, I feel like I go back to my caveman mode of communication. I am not sure how to do it anymore.
What is being a human like again? I have to relearn all of it.
Thus, I try very hard to stay in contact with humanity on a daily basis. Even if just for a few minutes. I will try to go out for a walk everyday, and smile at random strangers who walk by, to keep that semblance of a connection. Or, I will go buy something at a convenience store. And chat with the attendant about the weather or something banal to keep my conversation skills oiled up. Or, I will attend a social event. Or, do a 1-on-1 dinner or lunch with a friend, so that I don’t forget how to interact with people.
It’s difficult for me to be social, but easy to be in my cave. But I force myself to be social, so I don’t forget how to be a good social creature.
I think this advice could be applicable to a lot of the INFJs out there, who would prefer to be in their cave. Rather than be around people.
We have to remember that socialization and communication are all about practice. The less you practice, the more you forget. I hope my advice helps you even a little bit to avoid the horror of being over-chatty.